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the virtuosity of Hiromi Okada
and the Sonata by Akio Yashiro


The kaleidoscopic and explosive Sonata by the twentieth century Japanese composer Akio Yashiro formed the fascinating centrepiece of a warmly received Wigmore Hall recital by the London-based Japanese pianist Hiromi Okada on 11 February 2003. Okada is a specialist in contemporary Japanese music, not least in Japan, where he is to première works by Kondo and Miyoshi this spring.

Hiromi Okada
Hiromi Okada

His stimulating programme explored the concept of fantasy with virtuoso performances of Beethoven's Fantasie Op 77 to launch the evening and Chopin's strident Polonaise-fantaisie in A flat major Op 61 to conclude. Okada projected the mercurial shift of moods in Beethoven's Fantasie Op 77 with resonant sonority. It is one of Beethoven's most unusual single movement works, dating from 1809, and the alternation between declamatory and lyrical voices, concluding with a brief theme and variations, was evocatively delivered. And the 'Polonaise-Fantaisie' Op 61, came across as a powerful tone poem, full of beauty and surprises of gesture, its varied emotional world emerging through silvery scales and poignant melodic lines. Yet there was also a fantasy-like improvisatory quality to the three sonatas, Beethoven's Op 109, the Sonata by Yashiro and Chopin's B flat minor sonata Op 35, which imbued the programme with its broad pianistic canvas.

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Copyright © 4 March 2003 Malcolm Miller, London, UK


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